Typical ribs

Typical ribs are those numbered 2 to 10 with ribs 1, 11 and 12 considered atypical.

A typical rib is long and flat. They contain a:

  • head
  • neck
  • tubercle
  • shaft
  • angle

Ribs have a rounded, smooth superior border. The inferior border is thin and sharp. 

Osteology
Head

The head of a rib has two facets for the vertebral body above and below, which are separated by the crest of the head.

Neck

The neck is the narrow portion of the rib, between the head and tubercle. 

Tubercle

The tubercle, immediately after the neck, is a prominence on the external surface of the rib which contains a facet that articulates with the transverse process of the numerically corresponding vertebra. This area is called the articular part. The non-articular part provides attachment for the costotransverse ligament.

Shaft (or body)

The lengthy shaft follows the tubercle. It is thin, flat and twisted on the long axis. The shaft bends anteriorly at the angle of the rib. The angle marks the lateral limit of the attachment of the deep muscles of the back to the ribs.

Costal groove

The inferior border contains a groove called the costal groove. The costal groove protects the neuromuscular bundle, in order from superior to inferior the intercostal vein, artery and nerve (mnemonic: VAN).

Articulations
Vertebrae

The rib heads articulate with vertebra by two facets - the costovertebral joints.  The superior facet articulates with the vertebra above. The inferior facet articulates with the numerically corresponding vertebral body below.

The joint capsule is reinforced by the radiate ligament. This ligament has three bands. The upper band extends to the body of the vertebra above. The lower band extends to the vertebra below. The central band runs horizontally, deep to the anterior longitudinal ligament, into the intervertebral disc.

The tubercle articulates with the transverse process also by means of a synovial joint - the costotransverse joint.

Costochondral joint

Every rib articulates with costal cartilage with a cartilaginous joint.

Sternocostal and interchondral joints

Costal cartilages 2 to 7 articulate by their own synovial joints to the lateral border of the sternum.

Ribs 6 to 10 articulate with costal cartilages which then articulate with each other along their borders through small synovial joints.

Attachments

There are a number of muscles related to typical ribs.

On frontal chest radiographs, 12 pairs of symmetric ribs should be visible. Typical ribs specifically demonstrate a flanged inferior cortex where the costal groove runs.


Thoracic anatomy
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Article Information

rID: 44168
Section: Anatomy
Tags: anatomy, rib, ribs
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Typical rib

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